Arrow Season 3 makes Ra’s al Ghul white, again

The CW cast a white actor as classic Batman villain رأس الغول‎ in Arrow Season 3

Ra's al Ghul, as he appears in the DC Comics
Ra’s al Ghul, as he appears in the DC Comics

After teasing the infamous immortal master of the League of Assassins for the bulk of Arrow Season 2, Oliver Queen star Stephen Amell took to twitter to reveal the new face behind Ra’s al Ghul.

Screen shot 2014-09-05 at 08.43.11

Aussie rugby player turned actor Matt Nable, who starred in Riddick and Australian crime drama Underbelly, will appear in Episode 4 of the new series, titled ‘The Magician’.

While he’s no doubt a fine actor, this is the second that the Seventies’ Batman foe has been whitewashed, which Liam Neeson taking on the role in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

Matt Nable in Underbelly
Matt Nable in Underbelly

In the comic, Ra’s al Ghul is depicted as being Middle Eastern (his name is Arabic‎) and as one of the few multi-faceted Middle Eastern characters in comics, it’s not an auspicious start to this new incarnation to rob him of that.

If it’s born out of not wanting to stereotype Middle-Eastern characters as terrorists, that’s understandable, but Ra’s al Ghul is one of the few opportunities the DC canon offers to make a character much more than something from Frank Miller’s paranoid nightmares.

Here’s the bottom line: Denying Arabs, Persians and everyone else from the rich cultural, religious and ethnic tapestry that is the Middle-East their visibility will not magically solve the problem of racism for you.

Arrow Season 3 returns to The CW on 8 October 2014 and soon after on Sky 1 and Sky 1 HD in the UK. You can buy Arrow Season 1 on Blu-ray for £11.25 at Amazon.co.uk. Find out more about the comics that inspired the show with new digital magazine Uncanny Comics